Widely appreciated as a significant American poet, May Swenson has earned the praise of Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Howard, and Elizabeth Bishop, and is described by John Hollander as "one of our few unquestionably major poets." May Swenson has also been described as "perhaps the best poet to come out of Mormondom," (Karl Keller Dialogue 14.2 p. 136) and as an "accomplished imagist and devotee of the specific" (Mary Bradford, Dialogue 13.3 p. 140). At the same time, she represents a controversial figure in Mormon literature, since she is also known as an "expatriate" to the Mormon culture (Bruce Jorgensen, Dialogue 9.4 p. 51). However, see Susan Howe's article regarding the Mormon aspects of May Swenson's poetry. Swenson published eleven collections of verse that have received many honors. Her poetry has appeared in major journals such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Parnassus, The Atlantic Monthly, etc.
Included in 75 Significant Mormon Poets
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||The May Swenson Poetry Award|
Sponsored by Utah State University Press
||B.S., Utah State University|
Honorary Doctor of Letters, Utah State University
||Recipient, Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America|
Recipient, Bollingen Prize in Poetry
Recipient, Rockefeller, Ford, Guggenheim, and MacArthur fellowships
The Utah State University Press now sponsors an annual poetry award in the name of May Swenson.
|Other Biographical Information
||See the tribute to May Swenson by Veneta Nielsen|